- Created: Tuesday, 14 April 2009 13:39
- Written by Nicki Jameson
FRFI 206 December 2008 / January 2009
On 1 August 2008 the section of the UK Borders Act 2007 which provides for ‘automatic deportation’ of ‘foreign criminals’ came into force and more legislation against foreign national prisoners is in the pipeline. These measures were introduced by the Labour government following the Tory and press outcry in April-May 2006 over the release of foreign national prisoners which led to the resignation of Home Secretary Charles Clarke. NICKI JAMESON reports.
Clarke was forced to admit that during the previous seven years 1,023 foreign national prisoners, who had completed their sentences, had been released without being considered for deportation. As FRFI wrote at the time: ‘The numbers concerned are in effect tiny – in the region of 90,000 people are released from prisons in England and Wales each year – and the danger to the public negligible, but it was more than enough for the government’s opponents and the press. Just before the local elections, for papers like the Daily Mail the combination of bogeymen was irresistible. Every attack on terrorists, asylum seekers, benefit scroungers, out-of-control youths, drug addicts, paedophiles and generalised low-life scum came together in a mighty cacophony of outrage against ‘foreign convicts’ and the soft Home Office that had let them out.’(See here)
Under the new law, non-European Economic Area (EEA) citizens who have been sentenced to a prison term of 12 months or more can now be automatically deported when their sentences end unless they can show that this would breach their rights under the Human Rights Act (HRA). This is not easy as many immigration judges take the stance that if someone with family in Britain is to be deported, their partner and children can move as well so their rights under Article 8 (family life) are not breached.